Rinse raises $6 million to expand its laundry pick-up and delivery service

Rinse Inc. has raised a $6 million Series A round of venture funding to pick up and clean anything in its customers’ closets.

According to Chief Executive Ajay Prakash, who cofounded Rinse in 2013 with Chief Operating Officer James Joun, “We never wanted to b Uber for laundry, and don’t consider ourselves an on-demand business.”

The startup provides garment care services to customers who buy and book them through the Rinse app, website or text messages. But it doesn’t keep drivers in circulation 24/7 to make deliveries, or promise to clean clothes within a matter of hours. It takes a few days to process an order.

Valets, who are part-time employees of Rinse, drive their own cars along certain routes that Rinse sets up to pick-up and drop-off bagged items in between the hours of 8 and 10 p.m. each night.

That’s a window of time when most customers are home, the CEO said, but some customers opt to have a “personless” delivery option set up, which allows valets to access a garage, lobby or a lock box to pick up or drop off a laundry bag.

Among Rinse’s current services are: launder and press, wash and fold, dry cleaning, hang dry, leather cleaning and some other garment repair services.

The startup doesn’t clean super high-end items like wedding dresses. But it does wash comforters and blankets. Or rather, Rinse arranges to have these items cleaned by its network of vendors. The company pays select cleaners a wholesale rate, then bills customers a retail price to generate revenue.

Cleaners like the stability of orders coming in from Rinse, the CEO said, and the fact that they don’t have to do “flyering and local advertising” to drum up new business.

Prices are set per garment or per pound of laundry processed and a minimum order of $22.50 per wash-and-fold order, for example.

The Rinse laundry bags are tagged with QR codes, which helps the company keep track of all the items they handle and houses that they should go back to, easily.

Given the new round of funding, Rinse wants to expand beyond San Francisco and Los Angeles where it is operating today, add to add more services to its menu, such as shoe shines, re-soling and re-heeling. Longer-term, the company plans to make its service available as an employee perk to corporate clients, too.

The funding brings the company’s total capital raised to $9.5 million to-date. Javelin Venture Partners led the Series A round in Rinse joined by Arena Ventures, CAA Ventures, Accelerator Ventures, Expansion VC, Structure Capital, Otter Rock Capital and Base Ventures.

Competitors include everyone from regional cleaning businesses who offer delivery and pick-up options, to on-demand laundry services like FlyCleaners in New York or Wash.io in San Francisco.